B101.5 Kids Convention

Continuing in my current spate of LEGO mosaic constructions, in September of 2004 I built two mosaics for a promotional event in Fredericksburg, Virginia. About 6 months earlier an area radio station, B101.5, contacted me and asked for my ideas about what could be done at their upcoming eighth annual Kids Convention.

We quickly decided that I could built a large mosaic of their logo and mascot ('Buzzy the Bumble Bee'). We hashed out size and cost and so forth, but soon realized that, for once, I was going to have too much time to build the mosaic.

You see, they wanted me 'performing' at the Spotsylvania shopping mall for the whole week leading up to the weekend convention. I was to build the mosaic while kids from local schools came by on fields trips. I was not the only 'entertainment'; the main attraction was a huge 9,000 gallon aquarium with live sharks.

So after the kids saw the sharks (there were groups pf 100+ kids at about 10am and 12 noon each weekday), they would then be funnelled my way where they could 'ooh' and 'ahh' at the large LEGO mosaic of Buzzy the Bee.

Problem was that that gave me many, many hours to complete this mosaic. While it was what I consider medium size (50" by 75"), I was planning to use mainly 2x2 bricks in its construction (I have a LOT of 2x2 yellows).

There was no way I was going to be able to stretch the build out over 5 weekdays and then two long weekend days (12 hours on Saturday and another 7 on Sunday).

So, I suggested that I could build a second mosaic to take up more time.

Being 'Shark Week' and all, the radio station got me a picture of a shark and asked if I could build a mosaic of it, at about half the size of Buzzy.

So I did.

Though it was half the size, it actually took me longer to build because I decided to use mostly 1x1 pieces. All that white area surrounding the shark? It was filled with over 13,000 white 1x1 plates (I used plates instead of bricks on this mosaic).

This was, of course, to force me to take even longer to complete it.

It's not often that I find myself having to purposely slow down my building pace; but the station wanted me there the whole week, and I was supposed to look busy building these mosaics.

Overall the whole experience was full of no surprises.

I had planned out the mosaics beforehand, estimated roughly how many pieces would be needed, and then drove up to Virginia with about triple that number of pieces (always better to have too many, rather than too few).

I built the shark over the course of Monday through Thursday, and then built Buzzy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Throughout the week I was answering questions from passers-by; the most common queries were (in order):

  1. How long did that take to build?
  2. How many pieces did you use?
  3. Where are the live sharks? (answer: go down towards the SEARS, take the hallway to the right, toward the mall offices; the tank is outside by the big tent in the parking lot).

Most of the building consisted of filling in large swathes of single colors (the white background on the shark, and all the yellow on Buzzy). I would use my printed instructions to build the difficult parts first, then spend hours just filling in the empty space (this led to the impression that I was creating the whole mosaic from memory or imagination; I didn't correct that assumption unless someone asked [grin]).

It did get rather monotonous, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. On Thursday I took the afternoon off and caught up with Christina Hitchcock of BrickFest fame. I had actually been in this area of the country just one month prior to attend that LEGO convention (Fredericksburg is only about 40 miles south of Arlington, VA).

Here are a few more pictures of the B101.5 shindig:

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